People

Current Labmembers:

Gerald Schwank
Group Leader
Gerald Schwank was a graduate student in Konrad Basler’s lab at the University of Zurich, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2009. As a postdoctoral fellow he joined the team of Hans Clevers at the Hubrecht Institute, where he established genome editing approaches in adult stem cell systems. Soon after, he started his own lab at ETH Zurich. While initially his team was dedicated to the establishment of genetic tools to study human disease mechanisms in stem cells and organoids, more recently they have focused on the development of in vivo genome editing approaches to cure monogenic diseases. In 2020 the Schwank lab has moved to the University of Zurich, where they continue to pursue their goal of generating novel genome editors and translating these technologies from bench to bedside.
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Desirée Böck
PostDoc
After finishing her Master’s degree in Medical Biotechnology in Vienna (2014), Desiree performed a PhD in Microbiology in the lab of Martin Pilhofer at ETH Zurich (2015-2019). In her PhD thesis she was studying bacterium-host interactions using the high-resolution in situ imaging technique cryo-electron tomography. Desiree joined our group in October 2019. Her work focuses on using base- and prime editing technologies to correct disease-causing mutations in the central and peripheral nervous system. She is supported by SNF Spark as well as the Novartis Freenovation program.
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Sharan Janjuha
PostDoc
Sharan received her PhD in Cell Biology from the Centre for Regenerative Therapies, Dresden and Technical University Dresden, Germany in 2018. Working with Prof. Nikolay Ninov, she investigated regulators of pancreatic beta-cell proliferation and regeneration in Zebrafish. Sharan joined the Schwank lab as a post-doc in February, 2019 where she now focuses on developing methods to study spatially-resolved effect of base-editing and drug perturbations in tissues at single-cell resolution. Her work is supported by an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship Award.
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Claire Chabot
PhD Student
Claire received her Master’s degree in Human Genetics (Department of Medicine, McGill University) in 2022. Her thesis work on how neuronal activity represses oncologic activity in medulloblastoma cells was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Livia Garzia at the RI-MUHC. In August 2022, she began her PhD in the Schwank group. Her projects will have a focus on the in vivo applications of next-generation CRISPR tools to treat genetic diseases in the brain.
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Eleonora Ioannidi
PhD Student
Eleonora joined the Schwank lab in January 2021 as part of the URPP Human Reproduction Reloaded Project | H2R. Before, she conducted her master’s thesis (Biotechnology, ETHZ) at the Abudayyeh-Gootenberg lab at MIT in Boston, focusing on novel viral gene delivery systems and prime editing. Her PhD involves research on the capabilities and applications of new genome editing methods such as prime editing.
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Human Reproduction Reloaded Project
Lucas Kissling
PhD Student
Lucas received his Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Science (Department of Chemistry and Applied Bioscience) from ETH Zurich in 2020, where he joined the Laboratory of Jacob Corn for his Master thesis. In May 2020 he started his PhD in our group, where he will mostly work on in vivo modeling of disease mutations together with developing new base-editor tools.
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Kim Marquart
PhD Student
Kim received his Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Ulm in 2018. He conducted his Master thesis work at the Novo Nordisk Foundation (Copenhagen, Denmark) in the group of Helene Faustrup Kildegaard. Before joining our group as a PhD student in May 2019, Kim has gained insights into industry at Boehringer Ingelheim (Biberach, Germany) and Novartis (Basel, Switzerland). His PhD projects are about the systematic characterization and directed evolution of CRISPR/Cas9 based genome modifiers.
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Nicolas Mathis
PhD Student
Nicolas received his Master's degree in Biology (Molecular Health Sciences) from ETH Zurich in 2018, working in the laboratory of Sabine Werner. Before joining our group as a PhD student in August 2019, Nicolas gained insight into industry as a Postgraduate in Cell Line Development at Novartis (Basel). His PhD project is about the improvement of gene-editing tools with a focus on the correction of disease mutations and the novel Prime-editing technique.
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Tanja Rothgangl
PhD Student
Tanja received her Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical and Medical Biotechnology from IMC Krems, Austria, working in the laboratory of Massimiliano Mazzone at the CCB Leuven in Belgium and under Laurence Daheron at the HSCI in Cambridge, MA, United States. Her PhD project focuses on the improvement of gene-editing tools and their applicability for in vivo use.
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Lukas Schmidheini
PhD Student
Lukas received his Master’s degree in Biology (Molecular Health Sciences) from ETH Zurich in 2019, working in our laboratory. Since he could not let go of his exciting research, he joined our group as a PhD student shortly afterwards. His PhD project is about the improvement of gene-editing tools with a focus on applying state of the art directed evolution techniques.
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Patrik Simmler
PhD Student
Patrik finished his Master-studies in Molecular Health Sciences at ETH in 2016. He thereafter started his PhD degree in the Laboratory for Cell Signaling and Disease Biology led by Prof. Wilhelm Krek. After the decease of his doctoral father in 2018, Patrik joined the group of Prof. Schwank to conclude his research on the role of splicing factors in the malignancy of solid tumors.
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Priscilla Wang
PhD Student
Priscilla received her Master’s degree in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto, working in the laboratories of Alan Davidson and Sachdev Sidhu. Before joining our group, Priscilla gained insight into industry as a Senior Research Associate in Gene Editing Research at Vertex (Boston). Her PhD project aims to improve gene-editing tools with a focus on protein engineering and directed evolution.
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Yanik Weber
PhD Student
Yanik received his Master’s degree in Nanosciences from the University of Basel in 2020. After two projects in the laboratory of Michael Nash and Florian Hollfelder, he joined the group of Mustafa Khammash for his Master thesis to work on the directed evolution of optogenetic regulators. His PhD project involves the improvement of gene-editing tools through directed evolution.
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Tatjana Hänggi
Research Technician
Tatjana received her PhD from the UZH in 2004. In order to see more of Europe, she moved to London to work as a post-doc at the University College London. Her project focused on a gene therapeutic approach for seizure suppression in a rat model of focal neocortical epilepsy using HSV vectors expressing galanin. In 2019, she joined the Schwank group as a lab manager. In her free time, she enjoys the company of her husband and her two teenage sons.
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Cornelia Schwerdel
Research Technician
Conny grew up in Switzerland and has been working at the University of Zurich for many years. Outside of research she plays golf, does Scuba diving and likes to cook.
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Lisa Tidecks
Master Student
Lisa is doing her Master's degree in Biomedicine at the University of Zurich. She joined the Schwank lab for her Master's thesis in August 2021. She is working together with Desirée on establishing genome editing tools as curative therapies for neurological diseases.
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Elena Benvenuto
Master Student
Elena is doing her Master's degree in Biotechnology and Medical Biology at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan. For her graduation thesis, she joined the Schwank lab in October 2021. She is working together with Sharan on exploring the impact of chromatin architecture on efficient base editing outcomes.
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Sebastian Jossi
Master Student
Sebastian is currently studying Biomedicine at the University of Zurich and joined the Schwank Lab in November 2021 for his Master Thesis. He’s mainly interested in expanding sequence space to discover novel functionalities of nucleases.
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Tanav Damodharan
Master Student
Olga von Niederhäusern
Administrative Assistant

Adjunct Scientists and Collaborators:

Flavio Vasella
Adjunct Scientist / Neurosurgery Resident

Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology, University Hospital Zurich

Remi Weber
Adjunct Scientist

Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology, University Hospital Zurich

Remi received his Master's degree in Biochemistry (Biomolecular Sciences) from the University of Zurich in 2020, where he developed an immunotherapeutic bispecific antibody in the laboratory of Prof. Andreas Plückthun. He started his PhD in 2020 in Prof. Michael Wellers group and is closely collaborating with the Schwank lab to combine neuro-oncology with recent advancements in genome editing, focusing on the correction of mutations in glioma.
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Dominik Witzigmann
Adjunct Scientist

University of British Columbia, Canada

Alumni:

Cristina Solari
Master Student
Nina Frey
PhD Student
Martina Hruzova
PostDoc
Tamara Mengis
Master Student
Sabina Egli
Research Technician
Lukas Villiger
PhD Student
Noëlle Bakker
Master Student
Christian Hirt
PostDoc
Till Ringel
PhD Student
Natasa Savic
PostDoc
Luca Isenmann
Research Associate
Femke Ringnalda
Research Technician